NAB 2017

Imagine Opens Up Zenium Source Code

At the Imagine Communications NAB Show press conference in Las Vegas, the company unveiled its Open Zenium initiative to further advance adoption of IP workflows and discussed how IP and the cloud can be used by broadcasters looking at how to deliver personalized, targeted content and ads in an ATSC 3.0 future.

There’s more to success than having the vision to see where things are headed and laying the groundwork to get there. Just ask Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine Communications.

Last night at the company’s press conference on the eve of the exhibition floor opening at the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Vogt crowed a bit about the leadership role Imagine has played in moving the television industry from baseband SDI video to IP, a key enabler for virtualizing playout, master control, branding and other daily tasks at the heart of their business.

“Sometimes it feels good to say you are right,” he said. “We were right.”

But being “right” has created a “flurry of activity” in helping the broadcast community transition to IP that has become the “single biggest challenge” Imagine faces as it works to keep up with the demand, he said.

That activity gave Imagine a 2016 that was the best financial year the company has had in a decade, he said. [Ten years ago, Imagine Communications was Harris Broadcast sans the transmission portfolio.]

Fully 70% of the time and effort the company spends on technology development is allocated to next-generation IP solutions, he said.


Brick Eksten, Imagine chief product officer, echoed Vogt’s observations: “The velocity we are moving on today is unheard of.”

Eksten took the stage to unveil the company’s Open Zenium initiative, a strategy Imagine hopes will accelerate the IP transition further by making the source code to its Zenium library available to customers and partners, he said.

Microservices — or individual virtualized processes — are at the core of Zenium. By giving media companies and technology partners access to these microservices, they can assemble and modify workflows to match exact requirements, he said.

Already, Imagine has created more than 1,000 individual microservices and uses these discrete, virtualized processes to power products like Versio and Selenio One.

In a press release distributed after the event, Vogt said the company is “sending a strong message that we are ready to explore a more strategic and collaborative relationship with customers and are willing to back up our commitment by exposing the company’s most valued intellectual property in an environment designed to propel all parties toward mutual success….”

Imagine will conduct what it is calling Zenium master classes, April 24-26 from 10:30 to 11 a.m., at its NAB Show booth (SL1516), Eksten said.

There’s more to IP than enabling greater workflow efficiencies, however. IP will also be the technology that makes it possible for broadcasters to earn new revenue streams by serving up personalized content and advertising to TV viewers via ATSC 3.0, Vogt said.

At the press conference, Vogt and Sarah Foss, company’s chief product officer of advertising management systems, discussed a new “sandbox” initiative with Sinclair Broadcast Group to explore ways to take advantage of Imagine’s technology capabilities to deliver targeted content and advertising.

Broadcasters will begin monetizing content in a manner similar to how MVPDs do today as ATSC 3.0 makes it possible to deliver advertising based on regional zones and audience demographics, Foss said.

The joint effort of Imagine and Sinclair will center on using Imagine solutions for IP-based and cloud-native playout, multiscreen delivery and multiplatform advertising.

At the NAB Show, Sinclair and Imagine will discuss ATSC 3.0, new revenue streams and new localism during an ImagineLIVE Power session at the company’s booth on April 24 at 12:30 p.m.

In a press release announcing the Imagine-Sinclair effort, Sinclair SVP and CTO Del Parks said that Imagine “has been a significant contributor to our efforts to put into practice the full power” of ATSC 3.0 and is making it possible to offer viewers “an unprecedented and personalized television experience, both today and well into the future, while at the same time delivering advertisers a precisely targeted and highly engaged audience.”

Read all of TVNewsCheck‘s NAB 2017 news here.

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